A Ceramic Legacy

Shaping the past, present, and future with an ancestral practice.
Melanie Dizon
March 6, 2024



Leidy and Lily Panduro belong to the Chono Biri association of Shipibo-Konibo artisans from the districts of Masisea and Yarinococha, Ucayali, which was inspired by the memory of Dora Panduro Silvano (the mother of Lily), recognized in 2009 as a Meritorious Personality of Culture by the Ministry of Culture. With the mission to promote and safeguard the traditional art of the Shipibo-Konibo communities, Lily and Leidy shared with us the ancestral techniques of their ceramic arts and their story of how and why they continue to work the clay.

A Ceramic Workshop in Cusco

In February of 2023, we held a one-day workshop at Xapiri Ground with master ceramists Leidy Martinez Panduro and Lily Sandoval Panduro, whose distinct art form brings forth the ceramic tradition of the Shipibo-Konibo as it was taught them through their Panduro family lineage. A room of many eager participants received their valuable knowledge while learning to make their own piece of ceramic using clay and natural pigments.

Lily and Leidy on the day of the workshop / Photo: Davis Torres (©2023 Xapiri Ground)

Lily tutors a student at the workshop / Photo: Davis Torres (©2023 Xapiri Ground)

Sculpting the clay / Photo: Davis Torres (©2023 Xapiri Ground)

The workshop participants with their final pieces / Photo: Davis Torres (©2023 Xapiri Ground)

A relationship bound by earth

Our friendship with Lily and Leidy spans over the course of many years, where visits to their home and workshop in Yarinacocha; the ancestral home for the Shipibo-Konibo, allow us to learn deeper their reality and the dedication they carry for the traditional way of ceramic-making or Mapó. The extensive process of preparation from gathering the clay to the final firing of their sculptures is one of tedious work informed by their deep ancestral practice, an inheritance they wish to pass on to their children.

Lily preparing the firing pit | Photo: Davis Torres (©2022 Xapiri Ground)

"It is such a joy that we were left with this inheritance… at the same time it brings me sadness that little by little, those who make ceramics will be no longer." ~ Lily Sandoval Panduro

Leidy paints with a brush fashioned from a lock of her own hair / Photo: Davis Torres (©2023 Xapiri Ground)

Sculpted clay monkeys before the firing phase / Photo: Davis Torres (©2023 Xapiri Ground)

Today, it is becoming more difficult for many Shipibo-Konibo ceramists to practice their art in the traditional way as the natural landscape, from where they gather their materials, continues to diminish in effect of climate change and extractive industries.

Leidy paints with special clay pigments / Photo: Davis Torres (©2023 Xapiri Ground)

"To search for the materials we have to go far to take such risks" ~Leidy Martinez Panduro

Traditional polishing stones / Photo: Davis Torres (©2023 Xapiri Ground)

To learn more about the ancestral practice of Shipibo-Konibo ceramics or "Mopá" please visit our Shipibo-Konibo page.